When celebs like Dua Lipa, Alexa Chung, and Kate Winslet want makeup looks that will standout on the red carpet, they all turn to renowned makeup artist Lisa Eldridge.
But Eldridge's influence doesn't stop at her impressive client list. For over 20 years, she's been the mastermind behind the makeup in the fashion campaigns of brands like Gucci and Prada, wrote a best-selling book, and was one of the fist professional makeup artists to embrace YouTube, with a number of her tutorials going viral.
In-between applying makeup, Eldridge has worked with a number of top beauty brands on product development, including Chanel and Shiseido, to name a few. Currently, she's the global creative director of Lancôme. (You can thank her for the game-changing bendable Grandiôse Liquid Eyeliner.)
After years of crafting hero products for other brands, Eldridge launched her namesake makeup line in 2018 with a single product: lipstick.
The velvet-inspired matte formulas quickly became cult-favorites, and Eldridge has recently launched nourishing, but high-pigment lip glosses, which sold out also immediately.
Here, Eldridge shares the inspiration behind her own lip products, her tips for preventing your lipstick from smudging under a face mask, and more.
At what point in your career did you know you wanted to start your own brand?
I spent a long time working with labs and cosmetic scientists while consulting and developing for them. I really enjoyed doing it and all of the companies I was working with were very complimentary about how good I was with the scientists and putting everything all together. I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do it. However, I’m not a big planner and things usually happen organically for me, which is what happened with my lipsticks as well.
How did your experiences as a makeup artist shape your own brand?
I think I’m well-placed as someone who does tutorials, but also does makeup every day on different faces and skin tones. My experience of handling makeup and seeing makeup in motion gives me a double side.
Why did you decide to launch with lipsticks?
The funny thing about cosmetic science is that products can often take years to develop. While I have other things coming, some of which I’ve been working on for such a long time, the lipsticks just happened to be ready first. I had the idea to make this velvety lipstick, and we tried once before and it didn’t work. We finally found a way to get the lipsticks out of the mold and still look like velvet. It was a challenge, and I had to put a lot of quality control in place, with people checking every single bullet. I was 100% satisfied, so I was happy with launching it. Since it’s only me, I’m not under pressure to launch on a certain date or month, whether the product is ready or not, which is quite a luxury.
You recently came out with lip glosses. What was the inspiration behind this launch?
While my matte lipstick formula isn’t drying, I wanted to do something that was more moisturizing. I had the idea of creating a product that feels like a lip treatment, but still offers a lot of color. We tried different formulas and we were happy with this one, along with the colors. Sometimes things come quite quickly, and other times things will take years. And by quickly, I mean within 18 months.
This year has been weird for wearing lipstick, among many other things. Where do you see lipstick trends going in the time of COVID-19?
I planned to do lips again so I was a bit concerned about the face masks. But, lipstick has been just as popular as ever. There’s always that lipstick effect, which is a historically proven thing, where people like to cheer themselves up with a bold lip color. I thought people would stick to more natural colors, but my red shades have been super popular this year. Velvet Dragon, which is a new red shade, has just flown. A lot of people send me photos and videos showing me the lipstick they’re wearing under their masks. A lot of doctors and nurses wear my lipsticks. They show me they’re wearing a really bright red lipstick under all of their PPE. I think it’s like a secret thing that’s quite cheerful and brings a lot of joy.
What are your tips for preventing lipstick from getting on your face mask?
Stick to thin layers. When you put thin layers on, the lipstick will bond in synergy with the skin. Sometimes if you put a lot on from the bullet, there’s a certain amount that’s sitting on top of the skin. I always say to start with a thin layer — maybe with a lip brush — so that it almost settles in the creases on the lip. Then, put another thin layer on top and tap it in with your finger or blot it with a tissue. You’ll still feel the creaminess on the surface, but you won’t have any excess product available to come off.
What is a common mistake people make when applying lipstick?
The shape you make — especially with strong colors — is important unless you have completely balanced lips. For example, I have downturned lips, like a lot of people do, and if you follow your lips all the way down to the corners of the mouth, it tends to make you look miserable and sad. My tip is to roughly following your natural lips when you fill them in and just stand back and look into the mirror. Take a lip pencil and add a little bit of bulk or use a Q-tip to take a bit off one side, as needed. You’ll look like a different person. It’s a really subtle tweak, but you need to look at your lip shape and see what suits you.
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Shop Lisa Eldridge's Lip Products
True Velvet Lip Colour in Velvet Ribbon
Inspired by a classic bow, this true neutral/blue red is highly pigmented with a matte finish that has a slight sheen to it. To sum it up: it's a bold shine-free lipstick that won't dry out your lips.
To shop: $35; lisaeldridge.com.
Velvet Myth Fantasy Florals Lip Kit
A rich berry is a gorgeous alternative to a red lip. This kit includes the True Velvet Lipstick, along with the coordinating Enhance and Define Beauty Liner, a creamy gel lip pencil, and Gloss Embrace Lip Gloss, a non-sticky formula that offers impressive color payoff while simultaneously nourishing the lips. The trio comes in a velvet floral pouch created by multimedia artist Jon Jacobson. It's a great gift for the lipstick lover in your life, or you know, yourself.
To shop: $84; lisaeldridge.com.
Gloss Embrace Lip Gloss in Blush
This multitasking formula offers leaves lips smooth and soft, thanks to a blend of nourishing ingredients, while offering high-pigment color. Blush, along with the other five shades are currently sold out, but you can subscribe to Eldridge's mailing list for restock alerts
To shop: $24; lisaeldridge.com.
The Blue Velvet Collection
What's better than treating yourself to a single lipstick? Three new colors. This set comes with three blue-based shades of Eldridge's True Velvet Lip Colour. There are also options available with warm undertones as well as bold and neutral.
To shop: $104; lisaeldridge.com.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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